December 20, 2014

New locations, family trips growing trend for spring break

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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ARENAC COUNTY — Spring break is no longer exclusively for college students seeking to get out of the country.

According to Kelly Luce, a travel agent with Travels and Beyond in Standish, in recent years, more and more Arenac County high schoolers have started taking trips during their weeklong breaks. However, Luce says many are opting for locations such as California and Arizona over Cancun and other highly recognized vacation spots in Mexico and the Caribbean.

“A lot of people are now starting to stay in the states because you don’t need a passport,” Luce said, adding passports now cost about $100 in Michigan.

She also says families, especially when high school students are traveling, are starting to take the week off together.

“A lot of them are teachers that have that time off, or parents who know their kids have that week off so they’re planning their vacation for then. … A lot of hotels don’t accept spring breakers unless there’s an adult 21 or older that’s with them,” Luce said, adding new hot spots for spring break and family-friendliness have even begun to meld together, as evidenced in places like Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. “I believe the last two years in row, it’s been named the number one family spot.”

Even some established spring break destinations, such as Panama City, Fla., have underwent transitions due to the new trends, which were making the locations lose some allure, Luce says.

“They’ve completely renovated Panama City to make it more family friendly and more spring break friendly,” she said.

Part of becoming more family-friendly includes making it easier for visitors to avoid being put into dangerous situations, but Luce says much of that is in trip preparation.

“A lot of people are concerned about crime,” Luce said. “I always tell them it’s no different than taking a trip into a big city in the U.S. You really have to use good judgment when you’re going to another country as well.

“People are finding that there’s safety in numbers.”

Another part of ensuring safety, says Luce, is taking advantage of all-inclusive resorts, which often include food and refreshments, beachfronts, pools and activities for patrons.

But travelers looking to get away on spring break have to worry more about just finding a place to stay. Luce says people who booked trips this year have been clear about their choice in travel.

“Everybody’s flying. … They’re time conscious, they only have a week and they don’t want to spend three days driving,” she said. “I haven’t had too many people book hotel-only. Mostly they’re (booking) hotel-plane.”

Travelers in college, though, are probably too late to book any sort of trip, Luce says. She did add it’s not too late for high school students or families looking to take their own spring break, but says when planning future trips, do it early.

“What I always recommend is do it in advance. Try no to do it at the last minute,” Luce said. “You’re going to get the best flights, the best prices.”

Ten Spring Break Destinations for families

1. Riviera Maya, Mexico

2. Steamboat Springs, Colorado

3. San Diego, California

4. Lafayette, Louisiana

5. St. Lucia

6. Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, Mexico

7. Barbados

8. Palm Springs, California

9. Naples, Florida

10. Galveston, Texas

List is courtesy away.com.

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